Don’t freak out. This has happened to most of us. We sit down after filming our project, stretch our fingers, and begin importing all of our footage. While we wait, we do a few extra things to our footage, grab a sandwich, start doing a light edit, and then realize we didn’t want a clip after all and delete it. Before you know it, you are met with a red screen of terror to tell you that your beloved footage is not currently present. But don’t worry. I’m here to tell you how to fix the DaVinci Resolve media offline issue.
Why Does DaVinci Resolve say Media offline?
There are multiple reasons why this is happening. The most common is that a file you imported into your media pool is no longer linked to its source file outside. i.e.: you moved your files to a different drive or folder. I had also had this happen when I simply renamed files.
A few other reasons are as follows:
- Missing clips. This happens when you delete a file from your media pool, but the clip still exists in your timeline.
- H.265 or HEVC camera codecs.
- A very rare instance with using Sony cameras and XAVC camera codecs and renaming files on your drive as opposed to within DaVinci.
How to Fix the DaVinci Resolve Media Offline Issue
Let’s first address unlinked clips. If you have moved your files to a new drive, new computer, or a new folder, then you will automatically need to relink it.
Next Step: Relink Clips
To relink your clips:
- Go into your media pool and select your missing clips.
- Right-click on one of the missing clips and click “relink selected clips.”
- Navigate to the folder that has your footage in it.
If different clips are in other folders, let’s say, scene 1 or scene 2, etc., then DaVinci will ask you to perform a comprehensive search which allows it to look in subfolders of bigger folders. This is helpful when you have a bunch of files missing, and the source files are in multiple folders. However, if you only have a few, I would recommend linking them one at a time and navigating to the exact folder it’s in so DaVinci can find them quickly. This shouldn’t be an issue if all of your files are in one folder.
Missing Clips From Media Pool
If your problem is a missing clip from your media pool, then you can reimport your media into the media pool from your source folder.
Next Step: Reimport Media Into Media Pool
To reimport your media into the Media Pool, go to File -> Import -> Media. Or simply drag and drop your clips into the Media Pool.
H.265 and HEVC Camera Codec
As our tech advances, we will need to do a little bit extra to be able to decode particular codecs so that DaVinci can work with them. Cameras like GoPros and certain drones use this codec because it allows them to film large file formats like 4k60fps at half the file size.
Next Step: Windows HEVC Extension
If you are on Windows, you can get a free extension by going to Free-codecs.com, clicking Download at the bottom of the screen, and then downloading whichever one pertains to your operating system. Microsoft also has an extension for $0.99 if the free codecs don’t work. Once you have downloaded and installed the extension, restart your PC.
While it is excellent that both DaVinci Resolve Free and Studio both support H.265 decoding, understanding all that goes into CPU and GPU decoding can be kind of a headache. Therefore, if you want to work with these files, the easiest way to get them compatible is to use the Optimize Media feature within DaVinci. This will give you smoother playback with less stress on your CPU or GPU.
Next Step: Optimize Media
To optimize your media, you must first decide what kind of media you want. You can do this by heading over to your project settings (shift 9 for both Mac and PC). Once you have chosen your preferred media type, which will change depending on your needs, change the storage location so your optimized media won’t be in the same folder as your source files.
You can then right-click on your files and click Generate Optimized Media. Depending on the original file size and the codec you are changing, this may take a few minutes. So now is the time to grab that sandwich. Once DaVinci has created the media, you can then go to “Playback” and check on “Use Optimized Media if Available.” This feature is nice because when you need to watch performance playback in real-time, the optimized media will be a better choice for smoothness. But then, if you are color grading, you might want to use the raw footage.
Sony Cameras and XAVC Codec
Let me preface this by saying it is a rare issue but is an issue nonetheless, and I would like you all to keep your hair because I certainly lost a lot of my own. If you are like me and have a specific way of labeling your footage, then listen up. Over the years, I have heard filmmakers talk about importing their footage into their editing software and then doing all of the sorting and labeling.
In my experience of working on a lot of 48 hour to 72 hour film festivals or just working in short turnarounds, that is an insane waste of time. Before I even open the editing program, I label my files, separate them into folders, mark the ones I plan to use, and then import those into the editing software.
Speaking of 72 hour film festivals, here is 5ive, a short we did for the Adrenaline Film Project.
Now back to our topic!
If this is also your process, your files are missing, and you are using Sony or the XAVC codec, this could be the reason why.
I say this with all of the enthusiasm in the world. Don’t touch, rename, move, or even look at those source folders. The minute one of those folders is renamed, or you have renamed a clip, there is no going back because that codec is labeled and placed in those folders the way it is for a reason.
Your media will forever be offline, and you will have to do another media dump of all of your cards. All while praying to the film gods that you haven’t reformatted the card with your files on it. Right now, your only step is to offload all of your footage again, reimport it into DaVinci, and then do all your renaming and sorting.
The best way to attack this issue is to be ahead of it in the first place. Think of my unfortunate experience as a cautionary tale.
After almost a year of not finding anything online about this issue, I was able to attend NAB, where I spoke to a Black Magic rep, bless this human, and they said this was something specific to that codec and Sony cameras. Now don’t worry. This isn’t all completely hopeless because I also spoke to a Sony rep at Cinegear this year, and they have said that is something they plan to address to make sorting their footage a little bit easier. We will all soon rejoice.
Finally, Verify The Files
You always want to make sure that you have relinked the correct clips. If for some reason, you have linked the wrong one, you can always right-click the clip in your Media Pool and relink it again.
Whether it’s a misplaced clip, moved file, or different camera codec, I hope you found this article helpful on how to fix DaVinci Resolve media offline. Always make sure you are keeping track of your clip locations to help prevent media from disappearing from your timeline.
I would love to hear your thoughts or tips and tricks regarding DaVinci Resolve Media Offline. Leave us a comment below, and happy filmmaking!
Courtney Birk is a Los Angeles-based actress, colorist, and multi-media artist. She’s never quite satisfied with having enough artistic outlets – so she’s usually painting, singing, and collaborating with her best friend to find creative ways for new storytelling. Her passion for the arts has driven her to work in many different mediums, including music, fine art, theater and film production.